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Sendi Bai: The Awakening, From Within

Proud to be Women

The dismal condition of women in rural India essentially stems from a historical imbalance; women,unfortunately,have never been considered equals to men in a nation that claims to be worshippers of the mother cult. No wonder then,reproductive health of women falls far behind in the list of family priorities in back-of-the-beyond India. No wonder India still suffers from an incredibly high infant and maternal mortality rate.

ACM GIDF takes its Reproductive and Child Health or RCH program to below poverty level families living in villages that lack the most basic of education and healthcare facilities. Even if there are schools, the girl child is often not part of it, and these girls grow up to be ignorant mothers. These are villages where women would rather opt for the ‘dai’ (midwife) system for childbirth rather than institutional deliveries. Simply because they do not know any better.

Rampant ignorance and lack of facilities is a killer combination, quite literally. To correct the situation, we have now expanded the scope of our RCH program. Besides holding regular awareness sessions, we now encourage local women to form RCH groups and pool resources to create a common fund. After a year, group members can take loans from this fund to address medical emergencies.

To fulfil our agenda of improving awareness about reproductive and child health and connecting it to general health and hygiene, we have a whole spectrum of sessions. Besides addressing the issues of pre-determined target groups, we also conduct regular health visits to every household in the target area, and make sure that the entire community is involved through monthly discussion groups.

A snapshot of Indian health profile:

  • Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 62/64
  • Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003): 53/54
  • Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 76
  • Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2006): 4.9